Chronic pain is a common problem that often seems to have no cure. Pain is different for every individual, and although there are numerous medications and therapies for treating pain, many still do not find relief. This leads those experiencing chronic pain to attempt alternative therapies for pain management. These therapies come in many formats, such as herbs rather than medications, acupuncture, or mental exercises including yoga and meditation.
Floatation Therapy for Chronic Pain
Floatation has also been proven as an alternative therapy that works in treating chronic pain. Floatation relaxes the body and produces natural chemicals that relieve pain. Multiple studies have been done on floatation therapy as well as the scientific technique associated with it: REST. REST stands for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy, and it posits that entering an environment that removes all external stimuli will provide deep relaxation to the individual.
One study conducted in 1985, fairly soon after the widespread emergence of floatation therapy, shows the effects of REST in treating chronic pain. This study utilized both REST and EMG biofeedback, which was intended to enhance the effects of the relaxation provided by REST. The study found that patients experiencing chronic pain found both REST and biofeedback to be effective, with REST more effective than biofeedback. The patients also stated that they felt a small decrease in their daily average level of pain after the treatment. In addition, they continued to use relaxation for pain relief and found the skills they had learned very important in enabling them to manage their pain on a daily basis.
In 2003, a new dissertation was published in Sweden on floatation REST and pain management. This study found that patients experiencing chronic pain who were treated with floatation REST for three weeks experienced reduced pain. These patients also experienced an elevated mood; they felt less anxiety and were generally happier. The patients also found falling asleep at night easier. The study also utilized blood samples, finding that after treatment, the patients had a lower count of hormones that are related to stress.
Another dissertation completed in Sweden in 2007 also found that floatation REST was effective in treating both pain and stress. The participants in the study, who all suffered from stress-related pain, had twelve floatation treatments and felt that their condition improved after. These patients had conditions such as depression and fibromyalgia, showing that floatation is a useful treatment for many different issues. The treatments lasted for 7 weeks, and 22% became pain-free, while 56% experienced improvement. These studies show that floatation therapy is an effective treatment for those suffering from chronic pain.